In 2013, The Liberator was one of the first firearms made with a 3D printer. Designed by Texas-based Defense Distributed, the Liberator was a single-shot .380 with a flimsy barrel that needed to be replaced after every shot.
Obviously, this firearm could never replace the real thing, but the free plans were downloaded more than 100,000 times the weekend after they were shared online.
The Liberator disassembled (image source; Defense Distributed)
Unsurprisingly, the State Department’s Department of Defense Trade Controls ordered the plans to be removed saying “the United States government claims control of the information.”
Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson fought back against the order, but his challenge was recently rejected by the Supreme Court.
Undeterred, Wilson turned his attention to the Ghost Gunner, an open source hardware project that would allow nearly anyone to build their own firearm.
“Ghost Gunner is specially designed to manufacture a growing library of mil-spec 80 percent lowers to completion,” Wilson explains on the Ghost Gunner website. “With simple tools and point and click software, the machine automatically finds and aligns to your 80% lower to get to work. No prior CNC knowledge or experience is required to manufacture from design files. Legally manufacture unserialized rifles and pistols in the comfort and privacy of home.”
“Now, I can ship you gun machines that help you crank out 1911s all day long and nobody has anything to say about it,” Wilson explained. ”Because what is there to say about it?”
Under Federal law, it is completely legal for a citizen of the United States to manufacture their own weapon, provided their possession of a firearm is not already prohibited and the weapon is intended for personal use only. Sale of the manufactured firearm requires a Federal manufacturer’s license and is subject to some record keeping. Under the National Firearms Act, it is illegal to manufacture a fully automatic firearm without a Federal license.
The advent of 3D printers and CNC machines like the Ghost Gunner has made this process more available to the public than ever before.
Learn more about the recent advancement in homemade gun technology and the inevitable death of gun control in the video below by Cody Wilson.